Friday, February 19, 2016

3 Weird Ways to Tap Into Your "Growth Zone" and Become Massively Productive

There's a lot you want to accomplish in this life. Countries to explore, aspirations to make reality, some of them you'd never share because they're too "embarrassing" or "impossible." Thinking in that negative mindset is what limits you. It's not that things are impossible, it's that many adults stopped truly growing and developing years ago, it's sad but true.

Have you heard of The Monster Engine? Artist Dave DeVries' premise for it seems simple: what would a child's monster drawing look like rendered realistically? According to Big Think his goals run deeper. Dave wanted to see things like a child. Why?

In many ways, children flourish where adults fail. Children are more creative and are natural inventors. Their worldview is incomplete and demands discovery. They prosper because they embrace their ignorance instead of ignoring it. And they are willing to explore, investigate and put their ideas to the test because they are willing to fail. Unlike adults, they don't care how other people perceive or evaluate their idea, and they are unconcerned with the impossible or what doesn't work...A study conducted between 1959 and 1964 involving 350 children found that around 4th grade our tendency to daydream and wonder declines sharply. In other words, Picasso was right: "Every child is an artist. The problem  is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

That child-like mindset, free of societal expectations and rules to follow, is the perfect headspace to be in for growth. And that makes sense, because who grows exponentially more than children do? Taking DeVries' musings a step further, the artist-designed Destiny Lofts in Japan are designed like adult-sized playgrounds, the intent was to keep the brain stimulated so one could "live forever". But how do we do this as adults?

Getting uncomfortable, exploring new places, and trying things you normally wouldn't is essential for personal and business growth! If you don't have something on your to-do list that scares you, you're doing it wrong.

I'll use myself as an example. I've shared before that I became too comfortable working from my apartment doing work I enjoy. I wasn't challenging myself enough, creativity and especially social skills waned. I felt myself stepping back from things that made me nervous or uncomfortable.  To get out of that rut I've recently stepped back up to my whole living teaching post and I'm going to keep practicing my public speaking. I want to make videos, too. It all makes me nervous as hell, looking at the calendar and seeing those classes scheduled fills me with anxiety, but that's the point.
Artwork in this post is from The Monster Engine. 

I'm also continuously signing up for classes, especially ones I had some interest in, but also felt an aversion to. I embrace that slight aversion, if I feel that way, it often means it's something I need to do to grow. My recent Reiki certification was one of those classes I was really on the fence about. The classes were all day every Saturday from 10am to 6pm on Saturdays and usually more class on Sunday if we missed anything. It seemed excessive, but those classes ended up being life-changing. I loved it so much that I'm working on teaching free local Reiki classes. That sealed it. There will be many more classes and scary new things on the schedule this year. I'm sold! I'll be using the meditation learned in Reiki to help with the public speaking anxiety!

I challenge you to do the following three things this weekend: (1) Sign up for OR do something that you wouldn't normally do. It could be an online workshop or workbook you wouldn't normally try, or even listening to a whole album by an artist in a music genre you hate. Read new blogs in different niches. (2) Go somewhere completely new. (3) Do something that scares you. Even if it's something small and silly, like holding a spider for a few seconds.

Do everything above. Then keep doing it. Get uncomfortable, see new things, and get back with me and let me know how it works. You should see a big boost in motivation and creativity! These steps will give you practice, they're stepping stones to the bigger dreams you were scared of, the ones you thought were impossible. You can do it.

PS: Ironically as soon as I finished writing this YouTube played an ad where Rachel Weisz talks about Youth and how characters in the movie regain their "youth" and freedom from fear. Interesting! Watch it here.
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  1. Van: I LOVE this monster generating site...I've never heard about it before so THANK YOU! Great ideas re: personal growth as well. One of my main fears in life is being paralyzed with anxiety and not being able to do what I was meant to in this lifetime. So far, so good I think!

    1. Creating all the time is part of your job, so you're definitely doing a lot of things right ;) Isn't the Monster Engine awesome? He's a brilliant artist.

  2. I think that since I started making my art full time, all the time I should get out of my comfort zone. I got rid of many of my fears for the last 3 years. At first it was not easy. Thank you for your post.

    1. Agreed. Once things get too routine it's time to shake it up.

  3. Many adults aren't interested in sad.
    My love of photography gets me to places I wouldn't usually explore :)

  4. very cool challenges. Im turning 38 soon and as I get older I realize how important it is to try new things

  5. I'm going to roll all the challenges into one and sign up for snake breeding classes in Japan.

  6. It's definitely easy to get stuck in a rut, and trying new things and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone really helps to keep being creative.

    1. Indeed it does! February went by very slow for me because I did so many new things, I'm going to keep going with that.


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